Menaced by COVID-19, Susceptible Individuals Counter with Vaccine Acceptance

Menaced by COVID-19, Susceptible Individuals Counter with Vaccine Acceptance By Kathleen Hoffman, PhD, MSPH “The sickest I've ever been!" wrote a participant in Inspire’s COVID-19 HealthJourney survey about surviving COVID-19. Another went into greater detail when asked to share their COVID-19 story. I’ve had systemic lupus (SLE) and Discoid Lupus for 25 years. I’ve been on Hydroxychloroquine since my diagnosis. [In March] I woke with a strep-like sore throat, high fever, migraine, my body was in horrible pain. I called the doc. After being masked, gloved and gowned I was whisked into an isolated room, handled like [...]

COVID-19 vaccines and vulnerable populations: Over 26K participate in ongoing study

COVID-19 vaccine and vulnerable populations: Over 26K participate in ongoing longitudinal study  By Richard Tsai Crowd-sourcing info for a friend: have any of you who have lupus SLE and/or discoid taken the vaccine? Which one? What were your side effects? Thanks for sharing. — Brittney Cooper (@ProfessorCrunk) March 9, 2021 COVID-19 vaccines have been released. Are people hesitant about getting vaccinated? How are people responding? How do people with comorbidities, like cancer, psoriasis, asthma or sarcoidosis feel about getting vaccinated? If they have received the vaccines, how have they responded? It is now possible to find out [...]

Where Do You Start When Searching for Exceptional Responders?

Where Do You Start When Searching for Exceptional Responders? By Richard Tsai Before 2012, if a cancer clinical trial had only one successful remission amid a field of failures, the drug under trial was thought to be unsuccessful. We weren’t asking a key question: What made it work for that one participant? The one remission was an exceptional responder. Exceptional responders are in every clinical trial, but until whole genome sequencing (WGS) became available, it was impossible to scrutinize them. In 2012, researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering used WGS to learn what caused the remarkable and durable [...]

Portraits of resilience: How patients and caregivers cope through the COVID pandemic

Portraits of Resilience: How Patients and Caregivers Cope through the COVID Pandemic By Richard Tsai The word “storytelling” invokes a pleasant image of listeners around a campfire, listeners from any era and any culture. It could, however, just as accurately evoke an image of brain chemistry that creates direct experience and even changes behavior: I originally discussed this concept in an earlier post, “Why Storytelling Builds Brands.”1 Research shows that people remember stories better than mere facts and that the brain can store more information and retrieve it more easily when it is in story form.2 Storytelling [...]

How Clinical Trial Diversity Saved a Life

How Clinical Trial Diversity Saved a Life By Kathleen Hoffman, PhD, MSPH “My pastor warned me not to participate in a clinical trial,” Karen Barrios said. Going against his advice, Ms. Barrios joined a clinical trial that she believes saved her life.1 Ms. Barrios shared her story as a panelist during the webinar, “Enhancing Engagement of Communities of Color in Covid-19 Research,” held on January 11 by the Center for Community Health Education Research and Service in Boston. The purpose of this webinar series is to address challenges facing ethnic minorities in accessing healthcare and participating in [...]

Online Health Communities Change Patients’ Journeys: A Live Virtual Roundtable

Online Health Communities Change Patients’ Journeys: A Live Virtual Roundtable By Dana Deighton In the fable of the Ugly Duckling, the duckling feels isolated by his differences until he discovers that he is a swan too. Patients with undiagnosed conditions also feel isolated, with some even describing not being believed by their doctors or even their friends or families. One member with scleroderma shared her story: I spent 27 years seeking help --- every type of specialist, tests, hospitalizations, medications of every type, anything to put a name to my misery, not being treated like an attention-seeking patient. [...]

Next Generation Online Health Communities

Next Generation Online Health Communities: Data empowering patients and caregivers improves care and accelerates research By Richard Tsai The World Orphan Drug Congress USA 2020 (WODC 2020) provided four days of powerful panels and keynotes about collaborations, successes and failures in creating what rare disease patients and families need and desire most – effective treatments for their conditions. In one failure turned to success, Kim Stephens shared her story involving inappropriate clinical trial endpoints. Stephen’s son has Hunter Syndrome, an extremely rare inherited condition where children lack an essential enzyme in their cells that eliminates waste . [...]

Accelerating Rare Disease Research

Accelerating Rare Disease Research By Richard Tsai COVID-19 has challenged the non-profit arena’s fundraising arm, which is largely based on face-to-face events like galas, runs and walk-a-thons. This limit on the number and amount of donations has occurred just as rare disease patient organizations have reached a tipping point in their influence on government and industry. According to Malcolm Gladwell, the “tipping point” is “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point,” where “ideas...spread like viruses do.” 1In this case, the tipping point refers to the efforts made by rare disease patient organizations to provide [...]

COVID-19 and a Future with Fundamental Design Shifts: Incorporating Virtual into Clinical Trials

COVID-19 and a Future with Fundamental Design Shifts: Incorporating Virtual into Clinical Trials By Kathleen Hoffman, PhD, MSPH On a recent Pharma Talk Radio podcast called, The Impact of COVID-19 on Clinical Trials: Where are We? And Where are We Going?, three subject matter experts discussed how they see COVID-19 impacting the future of clinical trial research. What needs to change?1 The experts were Ray Dorsey, MD, the David M. Levy Professor of Neurology and Director of the Center for Health & Technology at the University of Rochester; Matt Kibby, President and Principal of BBK Worldwide; and Craig [...]